Huffington Post Live host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin has been talking about anti-Semitism a lot as of late. He has very specific ideas about when the charge of anti-Semitism should and should not be used, and he makes his opinions known quite liberally.
Earlier this month, when Hollywood darling Scarlett Johansson ended her relationship with global charity Oxfam over “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was brimming with praise.
“She took a clearly principled stand against those who disguise their classic anti-Semitism under false pretenses,” he said. That earned him a rebuke from Shihab-Eldin, the HuffPo’s Arab apparatchik, who tweeted, “After #SodaStream was exposed to the world as an occupation profiteer, #Israel‘s FM plays tired ‘anti-semitism’ card.”
The next day, after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned of anti-Israel boycotts and international isolation if Israel’s current talks with the Palestinian Authority fail, an Israeli leader accused him of “an anti-Semitic initiative.”
“John Kerry labelled ‘anti Semite’ for warning of possible boycott of #Israel | Welcome to the club Kerry,” Shihab-Eldin tweeted, linking to the article.
Two days later, in a HuffPost Live segment, he claimed that White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who took to Twitter to defend Kerry’s comments, was responding to the anti-Semitism charge.
Rice’s comment – “Personal attacks in Israel directed at Sec Kerry totally unfounded and unacceptable” – gives absolutely no indication that she was addressing charges of anti-Semitism.
In the segment, Shihab-Eldin claimed, “It is not unusual for Israeli officials to accuse voices critical of Israel’s policies, including settlement expansion, of being anti-Semitic, I know this all too well myself, despite by definition being a Semite.”
So according to Shihab-Eldin not only is the charge of anti-Semitism inappropriately used, it also doesn’t exclusively refer to discrimination against Jewish people.
So, what – in this guy’s opinion – is the correct term to be used for hatred of Jews alone?
On his Monday show, Shihab-Eldin hosted Professor Stephen Walt, author of “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” a book personally recommended by Osama Bin Laden, which asserts that American Jews have a stranglehold on U.S. foreign policy to the detriment of the American people.
The segment was titled: “Stephen Walt On Israel: ‘More Open Discourse,’ Anti-Semite Smear ‘Overused.’”
The strange thing about Shihab-Eldin is that when it comes to supposed slights against Muslims or Arabs, he is by no means dismissive. In fact, he is hyper sensitive.
In a lengthy article for the Huffington Post’s new The Word Post entitled “Davos to Detention: Why I Hate Coming Home to America,” he claims that he and other Muslims are discriminated against by U.S. border agents.
“It’s not easy coming back home to America when your name is Ahmed,” he writes.
Directed by Homeland Security to pass through secondary screening, he says, “I couldn’t help but feel as though JFK itself was a bit racist.”
“‘Omar Mubarak… Juan Diaz… Sayed Hussain,’ the officers called us one by one,” he recounts, complaining that officers were sharp with him when he defied the rules.
“I know all too well, the prejudices that come with growing up Arab or Muslim in America post 9/11 and the polarization that [it can] can have on society,” he concludes.
It would be very easy to dismiss his concerns. I too am detained for secondary screening almost every time I enter the United States due to some hang up in the system, and have been through the experience he described many times. The last time, I was with my eight month old child, and believe me it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
As far as I see it, the laws apply to anyone that fits their predetermined causes for suspicion, whatever their race, color or ethnicity.
But anti-Semitism has very clearly defined definitions.
According to the U.S. State Department, the scope of anti-Semitism includes, “Applying double standards by requiring of it [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. Multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations” and “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist.”
By these definitions the BDS movement, referred to by Foreign Minister Lieberman, is unquestionably anti-Semitic, and there is a strong case to be made that some of Kerry’s comments have boosted groups with radically prejudicial leanings.
Shihab-Eldin’s unjustified obsession betrays a monstrous hypocrisy and the wafting stench of his anti-Jewish bias. He is a stain blotting the digital pages of ’The Internet Newspaper.’